The Occupy movement in Iowa City appears to be losing steam as winter begins to set in.
Much of the group, which has had a presence at College Green Park since October, have gone missing from their tents in recent weeks.
“We’ve made a decision to draw down our presence in the park,” said Dan Knutson, a member of the groups “community outreach” committee. “But there still will be some presence.”
Monday night more than 20 tents sat quietly in the park, most unoccupied.
“Three or four days ago they took their kitchen down and they took some other things down, because they were having more issues with homeless (people) coming and eating their food,” said Mike Moran, director of Iowa City’s parks and recreation department.
“It’s ‘Occupy’ 99 percent of people who are not home,” declared one protester, who admitted to being homeless while speaking through her tent. “They’re all at home, in their warm beds, they’re at their computer, occupying their computer.”
In November the city council modified the group’s permit, which extended the amount of time the protesters can stay in the park while also allowing them to set up bigger tents. At least 15 protesters attended the council meeting, telling councilors bigger “arctic” tents were necessary for winter camping.
In mid-November, the group stopped posting meeting updates to their Web site, despite claims that the group is moving online.
Knutson said the group does continue to try and meet on a regular basis at various indoor locations.